With Mercedes-AMG slowly phasing out the V-8 Aston Martin needs to develop its own solution.

For those of you living under a rock for the last decade, Aston Martin has long borrowed Mercedes-AMG’s V-8 for its sports cars. That very engine powers the Vantage, DB11, and even the new DBX, but that’s also a big problem because Mercedes-AMG is working on slowly phasing out its V-8 engine. That leaves Aston Martin to either suck it up and transition to four-cylinders – something that won’t happen for a long time to come, if ever – or come up with its own new powertrain. Well, as you probably already guessed, Aston is taking the better route and is now preparing to develop an electrified V-6 engine for use in most of its future cars.

Why is Aston Martin Moving to a V-6?

Aston Martin and Mercedes to Part Ways Over the Death of AMG's V-8 Drivetrain
- image 746487

Things could have played out a couple of different ways when it comes to the AMG V-8 pickle that Aston Martin finds itself in. One option could have been for Aston Martin to purchase the plans and rights to build the AMG V-8 engine – probably something that AMG wouldn’t want. With AMG slowing transitioning to four-cylinders with electrification as a buffer, Aston could continue on buying AMG engines for its cars, but who the hell wants a four-cylinder Aston Martin, am I right? So, the answer is to build something internally.

That’s where another big decision needs to be made. Does Aston Martin build its own V-8 engines? Well, it would be ideal, as the company’s engineers have experience with V-8s, but Aston also falls victim to emissions regulations, and eventually, V-8s just won’t cut the mustard anymore. That’s where the electrified V-6 comes in, but it’s not just as simple as building a hybrid V-6 and slapping it in next-gen cars.

The new powertrain has to live up to all of the expectations consumers have for the brand, from performance to engine sound to acceleration.

In an interview with Car & Driver, Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, elaborated on such a drastic decision:

" Mercedes have made no secret of where their engine technology is moving to, and obviously we don't foresee four-cylinder engines in our Astons. So we've got to make our own journey."
Aston Martin and Mercedes to Part Ways Over the Death of AMG's V-8 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 721627

But, that’s also part of the problem as Aston has, quite literally, zero experience building V-6 engines. Palmer did elaborate that he believes his team is up to the task and will deliver a powerplant with the appropriate characteristics despite the fact that electrification will be required. The real question is how the engineers will manage to get the right sound and performance with a new powertrain setup, but Palmer seems to have it all figured out.

" The key is sound, tuning the pipes to make it sound like an Aston," Palmer commented. "Obviously we can use the hybrid system and the electric motor to fill in on torque so you can compensate for the cylinder size with the electrical assist. As long as it feels like a V8 and sounds majestic, I think it's a perfectly sensible way to go, and a lot more sensible than an [inline] four would be for us."
2017 Aston Martin DB11 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 667794

At the same time, Andy Palmer has also confirmed that, despite the move to a hybridized V-6, the company isn’t dropping the V-12 just yet. According to the same report, production of the V-12 will be moved from Cologne to the U.K. where the new V-6 will also be built. It’s still living on borrowed time, but the company remains committed to it, with Palmer adding, "I hope the V12 is around for a good while longer. You can see in the longer term it won’t last, but certainly over the next few years, we can continue to produce V12 engines, and we can make them more CO2 friendly."

Source: Car & Driver

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
About the author

Related Articles

2020 Aston Martin DBX

2018 Aston Martin Vantage

2017 Aston Martin DB11

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: